Today in History:

720 Series I Volume XXXI-II Serial 55 - Knoxville and Lookout Mountain Part II

Page 720 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.


(Major W. D. Pickett) who happened to be with me to General Jackson to inform him of what I had seen and to direct him at once to place all of his troops in position. He reached General Jackson, I suppose, a little after 10 a.m. I caused the picket at Smith's trail to be largely increased and a strong force to be posted as sharpshooters along the crest of the mountain. The artillery, with trails raised, opened with spirit and effect, and was used until the enemy advanced so close under the cliff that the guns could not be sufficiently depressed for the shots to take effect.

General Walthall's pickets and skirmishers extended from the turnpike bridge of Lookout Creek to the railroad bridge, and thence making nearly a right angle across the northwest slope of the mountain to a point near Smith's trail. The enemy, as Walthall mentions in his report, had threatened to force a passage of the creek on his right, but their real movements was upon his left. A large force had moved up the creek under cover of the fog, crossed above, and, passing along the western slope, attacked him successfully in flank and rear. Their advance on the flank and from the front was gallantly contested; but though their front line sometimes wavered, they pressed on, Walthall falling back to the line which I have before mentioned, but with very heavy loss in prisoners, owing to the enemy taking him in flank and rear.

Finding that the fog was becoming so dense that the troops on the northern point of the mountain could not see the enemy moving upon Walthall, I gave orders from Pettus with my only disposable force to move down and report to Brigadier-General Jackson. He started at 12.30 o'clock and reached the scene of action a little past 1 o'clock, relieving Walthall on the left of Moore's line. This position was held by Moore, Walthall, and Pettus until about 8 p.m., when Walthall's and part of Pettus' command were relieved by Clayton's brigade, commanded by Colonel Holtzclaw, which was sent to cover the movement to the right. Moore and Holtzclaw retired from the position about 2 a.m. on the 25th. Brown, finding that the enemy could not be seen for the fog, deployed his sharpshooters down the sides of the mountain, who were guided in firing by the report of the enemy's musketry. At the same time the men stationed along the crest rolled down rocks in the direction of the Craven house. This with the shells from the Napoleon guns doubtless contributed not a little to checking the advance of the enemy, for soon thereafter his firing materially abated.

Early in the day the appended communication (C) was received from General Bragg. A perusal of it will show how highly important he on that day considered my making such dispositions as would effectually prevent a severance of the troops which I commanded from the main body of the army.

About the time the attack was made on Walthall the enemy massed a considerable force upon the Chattanooga road in front of Cumming's line, evidently for the purpose of co-operating with and making a diversion in favor of their assaulting column. The number of his troops massed for this purpose, who had been in plain sight until the view was obscured by the mist; the serious weakness of Cumming's force (there not being a man for yards upon some parts of the line), and the certainty that to re-enforce the command near the Craven house from Cumming's was to give the enemy an opportunity to cut us off from the main body without even a show of resistance, rendered it highly improper to withdraw a man from

Page 720 KY., SW. VA., Tennessee, MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.